One of my favorite workout shirts has the phrase, It’s not fat, it’s fuel, printed boldly on the front. I love the color and the statement. To me, it is profound. Each and every time I run I need to remind myself that it is not fat… it is fuel. You see, I struggle with body image.
I fall victim to the comparison trap. I compare my body, fitness level, parenting, marriage, material status, and children to those near by. Sometimes I feel I come out ahead… while other times I fail behind. I struggle with comparing myself to others.
This unhealthy habit is especially true when I view my body. When I hop on the scale, I do not like the number that shows up. When I go to purchase new clothes (real or workout)… I am not a fan of the number or the letter. I struggle with body dysmorphia.
Yet what I fail to see is the strong woman, wife, mother that I am. I am strong. I am healthy. I can run for hours and many miles without stopping. I can run faster today than I could a year ago. I can hold my body weight for a few seconds at a time while balancing on my hands!
I may not be the fittest fitness and running blogger that you will find on the net. I also know that I am not the fastest running blog around. I may not share healthy recipes and fitness workouts… because I too am a work in progress and on this journey.
I find myself comparing myself to other runners and fellow gym goers. I compare myself to other health and fitness bloggers who seem to have their health, fitness, and life organized and well put together. I compare. I struggle. I envy. I lust.
I know that I am a work in progress. I can not get to my goal weight or fitness level by eating all the cookies I desire. I need to treat my body how I want it to look. I need to TALK to myself the way I would want to be treated… stop the negative self-talk.
I struggle with body image. When I look in the mirror, I do not see what YOU see. I see all the things that could and should be. Not the things that are presently in front of me.
I see the things that have changed through three pregnancies, three c-sections, three nursing children… and age. I need to change my focus to the positives and non-scale victories in my day.
For example, My upper body (arms and shoulders) are getting stronger from my handstand challenge each week! I am running faster… even if it isn’t SUPER FAST… it is fast for me. I am seeing definition in my body… even if the scale isn’t moving DOWN (but rather UP)… I am firming and toning.
I am running my fifth half marathon next weekend, March 17th. I am excited to be running with some good girlfriends. However, I found myself comparing my running ability (or lack there of) to their speediness. I started doubting my ability and my training.
I had to take a step back and reflect upon the positive of my running experiences with the half marathon. I may not finish at the predetermined race time (of a sub 2 hour finish like I had planned back in December). But I am confident that I will set a personal best for this distance!
My first half was in 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky. I had no children and trained and ran for the love of running. I finished with a time of 2:19:43. I was not winded and finished with loads to spare. It was a fun first race.
My second half was in 2007, in Kansas City, MO. I had a 15 month old and was pregnant (unknown to me) at the time. My training was sporadic all while pushing C in the jogger. I finished that hilly (Hospital Hill Marathon) race in 2:43:40.
My third half was in 2010, in Redding, CA. The race was HOT, HILLY and I was not prepared with hydration and fuel. I bonked at mile 7. I finished in 2:25:27.
My fifth half was this past October, in San Francisco, CA. It was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. It was fun, crowded, and mega hilly. I trained as well as I could while being sick and injured with plantar fasciitis. I finished in 2:18:27… a personal best! Who knew!?
What I am trying to say (and remind myself of) is that God made us who we are… for a reason. We can’t wish we are someone else… because that person is already taken. We don’t know the burden they have (good and bad).
I may still struggle with my body image… but I am learning to trust that this old body can accomplish some pretty amazing things! I am going to rock my run… and continue to challenge myself. I will continue to work on the positive affirmations toward my body and fitness level. I am me. There is no one alive who is more ME than ME!